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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Psychiatry 1/2017

Acceptance of guidance to care at the emergency department following attempted suicide

BMC Psychiatry > Ausgabe 1/2017
W.P.H. Dekker, A.C.M. Vergouwen, M.C.A. Buster, A. Honig



Research, aimed at improving the continuity of care after hospital discharge following attempted suicide focuses on the effectiveness of the interventions. Little attention has been paid to patients who immediately decline guidance to advised post-discharge care. We aimed to identify differences between accepters and decliners of guidance to care (GtC) in relation to the characteristics of patients who presented at the emergency department (ED) of an urban hospital in the Netherlands after attempted suicide.


This cross-sectional study included all patients who presented at the ED of OLVG-West Amsterdam with a suicide attempt or intentional self-harm and were referred for psychiatric evaluation. Data were collected over a period of twenty months using a semi-structured questionnaire. Subgroups were described in relation the acceptance of GtC using univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses.


In total, 257 patients were included. GtC was accepted by 77%. Suicide attempters who reported loneliness as reason for the attempt showed a positive relation to acceptance. No indication was found that patients at higher risk for suicide are more reluctant to accept GtC. Suicide attempters with a non-Western ethnicity, especially patients with a Turkish/Moroccan ethnicity, declined contact by the GtC nurse significantly more often. In addition, patients who currently did not receive care were significantly more often of non-Western ethnicity and younger than 25.


Acceptance of GtC is high among patients who presented at the ED after attempted suicide. The patients who were the most reluctant to accept GtC were young suicide attempters of non-Western ethnicity who were not in current care. As this study is the first to address the acceptance of GtC, we point out two lines of inquiry for further research. First, reasons to accept or decline need to be investigated further since only interventions that are accepted by patients have a chance to improve clinically relevant outcome. Second, follow-up research is warranted comparing the adherence to advised post-discharge care and attempted or completed suicide among accepters versus decliners of GtC in various ethnic and sociodemographic subgroups.
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